Tag Archives: bike

A Very Chicago Weekend

23 Jul

I feel so fortunate for incredible weather this weekend! Friday, Saturday, and Sunday were gorgeous and I made the most of them all!

Friday night I grabbed drinks with my roommate and it turned into a late-night bar crawl. Saturday I woke up, ran around the city and enjoyed the sunshine then headed home to the suburbs for some QT with my fam, neighbors, and girlfriends. Kayla and I went on a bike ride around Busse Woods with two guys that I probably haven’t seen since 2005, so that was interesting. Of course with Facebook it feels like I’ve seen them every year since, so it was pretty normal.

After that Jamie, Lili, and Loredana joined us and the seven of us tried to play Risk (the 1975 version). We couldn’t figure out how to play and lost interest pretty quickly, but then one of the guys ran to his apartment to grab a game he plays with his family: Telestrations. It’s basically the game of telephone but with drawings. It sounds like it’d be pretty tame but it is actually unbelievably fun. There were seven of us adults playing (his game only supported six players, so one person had to be the timer) and we were crying from laughing so hard. If you buy the game I suggest making sure you play with as many people as possible!

I stayed at Kayla’s until about 12:30 and then ran back to my parents’ to drop my bike off and head back to the city.
Sunday morning I woke up at 9:30 and headed over to church before our scheduled beach day could begin. Jamie and Kayla came over and we loaded up my new bike cargo cart (the girls used Divvy) and we found a spot on North Ave. beach. I didn’t get to use my paddle board at the beach because it was just too crowded but it is one of my goals by the end of the summer.

Bike Cargo Trailer

After the beach we cleaned up and made our way to Jonquil Park (right by my place) to watch Ghostbusters. While we waited for the movie to start we ordered Lou Malnati’s, played Telestrations (this is when we learned the more people, the better) and hung out. It surprisingly got chilly by the end of the night but I love Movies in the Park no matter what.

Movies in the Park

In my opinion it was the perfect weekend!


Naperville Esprit de She Sprint Triathlon 2014

22 Jun

On Sunday, June 8, I completed my first triathlon of the season. It was an all-women triathlon, which I preferred last year to the co-ed (Lake Geneva) version, so I was really pumped. Plus, because I competed in an Esprit de She event last year (their inaugural year), I was supposed to get special perks (spoiler alert: BUST).

The weather had been iffy in Chicago and I was worried about air/water temps. One blogger I read, Kelly the Culinarian, had done a practice swim in the pool we were going to use and advised me that sans-wetsuit would be OK. She was totally right, the water was 76 degrees and perfect.

The morning of the race I woke up at 4:45 and the air temperature was 55 degrees when I headed to Naperville. The transition area closed at 6:45 am and my wave wouldn’t begin until 8:15 am which meant a lot of waiting around.

The race went perfectly. I have no regrets about the amount I trained or prepared. My swim started off a bit rough because I was at the back of my wave and probably didn’t deserve to be. It’s funny how you wait what feels like forever (almost two hours) to start and when it’s your time you feel rushed! I didn’t even put my goggles on my face until about ten seconds before starting. What the heck was I doing the rest of the time? Anyway, I got a lot of feet in my face and didn’t feel free to swim comfortably until about one third into the course.

My transition one (T1) time was long. I saw my mom and was kind of chatting with her while I transitioned to bike. My biggest complaint about the race was the way they had set up the transition areas. The run out and bike in were at the same spot so those of us in later waves (read: younger) had to run with the bike longer than the others. I know it’s not a big deal, but for some reason it really bothered me. Probably because it’s uncomfortable running when you’re exhausted and dragging a bike on your side.


The bike ride was great – it was actually my best leg. It was two laps and there was a strong head wind on the second half of each lap which made for some cold riding but the tail wind side was so great and I could hit up to 21 mph. I did see one wipe out because there were sharp turns and lots of lost water bottles.

Like I said I wasn’t thrilled about the way transitions were set up. Running with the bike is difficult. Nothing noteworthy during T2 other than I found my sunglasses in my cycling shoes (I thought I had left them at home). I wore a hat for the first time – mostly so my parents could see me – that I had won from my friend and former classmate Erin’s blog. Thanks, Headsweats!


The run was OK. There was little crowd cheering and it felt kind of lonely. I don’t know if I’ll ever master the jelly-legs feeling you get off of the bike that makes you feel like you are crawling when you’re trucking along at a regular run pace. No hills or surprises so that was a win for me!

My parents came out to support me and take photos and I really appreciated it. There was a fun “lifestyle market” at the end of the race that really wasn’t any different than other races I’ve finished. There was a VIP “founding finishers” tent for those of us that races with Esprit de She last year but it wasn’t very exciting. They didn’t offer anything exclusive other than private port-o-potties and sparkling grape juice.

Like I said – great weather and a great race. No regrets. Plus my mom and I picked up Portillos on the way home – WIN!


Swim (1/2 mile): 15:27

T1: 4:23

Bike (14 mile): 49:17 (avg 16 mph)

T2: 3:19

Run (5k): 33:17 (10:43/mi)

Total: 1:45:41

Lake Geneva Triathlon Recap

16 Sep

Second triathlon… done!

The Lake Geneva tri was Saturday and it was awesome! Not as awesome at completing Pleasant Prarie with my friend, Jamie, but still awesome.

I had a doctor’s appointment and a dentist appointment on Friday and had the rest of the day to pack up and get to Lake Geneva to pick up my race info. I got to William’s Bay on Friday around 7:00 pm, grabbed my packet, and bought a sweet new swim bag and some anti-fog goggle spray. As it turns out, the goggle spray never made it home with me. To this moment I am still not sure where it went. That was a bummer.

I stayed at my neighbors’ lake house and we had some pizza and pineapple the night before and they helped me apply my tri tats (which still aren’t off my arms yet! HELP!). Then it was time to set my alarm for 4:30 am.

A funny thing happened at 4:30. I woke up, checked the weather, and it was 36 degrees outside. 36! It had been in the 90’s earlier this week and was a beautiful 60ish on Friday. What happened!? Luckily, they pushed the start time (6:30) back 45 minutes because they knew it was just too cold for people to be transitioning from water to bike, but unluckily we had to stand outside waiting from 5:30-8:15 when I finally went off. I’m grateful that by 8:15 the sun had come out and I had started to warm up a bit. Let’s get into the good stuff, though.

The Swim – 500 meters (1/3 mile)

The water temperature was about 72 degrees and I didn’t wear a wetsuit. At ankle-deep the water seems like bath water, so I thought I’d be fine, but as we waded a bit deeper I was regretting my choice to not wear a wetsuit. Since the swim was so short I thought I’d dominate, but I didn’t. Water got into my goggles and was driving me nuts the whole time. That was a real bummer because I could have done much better than I did.


I struggled to get my long sleeve shirt on over my wet body. Luckily I purchased some bike gloves because they had advised us to put our socks on our hands if we didn’t have any gloves – that’s how cold it was in the wooded areas we’d be riding through!

Bike (14.1 miles)

It was almost 9:00 so the weather was starting to get nicer. The course started with a huge climb uphill that I haven’t been training for. That was rough, but after that hill I was able to take on some smaller hills without any problems. The course was beautiful and scenic around Lake Delevan where my aunt has a cottage. I loved all the families on their driveways cheering us on! The only down side was that my bike computer wasn’t working so I never had a real grasp on how fast I was going, but I did set my Garmin so I had an estimate of the distance completed.

Lake Geneva Tri Bike

Lake Geneva Tri Bike


T2 is so simple for me since I’m not wearing bike shoes. I just drop my bike, throw on my shirt with my number on it and off I go!


The run was rough for me. I haven’t been training too much and it was very, very hilly. Plus, there were a ton of cars on the course! WTF?! I was pretty disappointed with my run time, but I know that’s where I need to focus next time.

Lake Geneva Tri Run

Lake Geneva Tri Run

Overall, a very fun, scenic race! So glad I did it. I was disappointed with the number of cars on the run course and the fact that at one point both lanes of run traffic (coming and going) had to share a single sidewalk (standard size) to get to and from the water station. That was poorly planned. Also, the name of the group that puts it on is called “TriRock” and our medals had a guitar which are both supposed to symbolize their use of music at the race but I really couldn’t tell you any point I heard music besides the finish line. I think they could beef that up a bit. Could have used some at the water station and along the hills on the run.

I’m grateful that my parents (and Lucy) came to see me finish, too. They got a few photos and then we headed back to our neighbors’ house to get ready for our other neighbors’ son’s wedding reception on a boat around Lake Geneva. The weather kept getting more beautiful and there were free drinks for my dehydrated body to soak in. It was a great time. We did some shopping in Downtown Lake Geneva and then I came back home and crashed!

Was anyone else at Lake Geneva for the tri? What did you think?

The other bike that broke my heart

29 Aug

Dear readers, I have so much to tell you about starting with the camping trip and not excluding Shakespeare at the pub and our ukulele teacher’s concert. But first, I had another bike break my heart.

It all started when I switched my laundry from the washer to the dryer this morning. I noticed my bike (to clarify, this is the bike I ride to work, not my new road bike, but rather the bike that got the cute new basket just a few weeks ago) wasn’t there, panicked for a quick second and then remembered I locked it up front overnight since I’ve been riding so frequently and it’s easier than dragging it up and down the stairs. There was my first mistake. I woke up this morning eager to conquer the day, walked out the front door to where my bike would be waiting for me. Except it wasn’t. I was confused for a second until I saw some remnants of the lock on the patio. My bike had been stolen.

I don’t want to take blame for someone else coming onto our property, cutting my lock, and clearly taking something that didn’t belong to him, but I feel partially to blame because I didn’t use my U-lock. I got a free U-lock at the University of Miami when they taught us about bicycle theft prevention. You got a free lock for registering your bike with the police. Hopefully that police info is going to come in handy soon because I called them this morning and they’re checking to see if they still have it on file. So no, this wasn’t my fault that someone stole, but I should have known better than to lock it up with a dinky lock. For those of you who know me, our street is pretty safe, so this honestly seems unfathomable. Although, now that I think about it, my car was broken into less than a year ago… hmm…

Luckily I’m a responsible adult and have renters insurance, but unluckily the renters insurance deductible is $500 and my bike was worth less than that. The police report is filed and maybe I’ll get it back some day. Until then I’ll be riding my road bike to work and getting ready for the tri, I guess.

The moral of the story is there is no other lock than a U-lock. Invest in it and never look back.

The Bike that un-broke my heart and Movie in the Park

16 Aug

Well, it’s Friday, which means I got ice in my water cup even though I got in at 8:55 again. I came in at 7:45 yesterday, though, so I got my share of ice no problem. Our friend at work, Jessy, is practicing to become a yoga instructor so I’m one of her test subjects. It’s amazing to do yoga overlooking Michigan Avenue at 8:00 am.

Last night was a very exciting night! I bought the bike and am officially over the bike that broke my heart. I test rode it Wednesday, pretended like I was going to play the field all weekend (you know, searching for more bikes), but decided I wanted to have one and get this process over with. I was debating between buying used and buying one on clearance from a bike shop, but I don’t want to wait until the end of the season to get a new bike so I decided I’ll use a used one for a year, understand what I’m looking for in a new bike, understand how low the end-of-season prices go, and then purchase a brand new beauty. The plan works for me, so I’m sticking to it. I ended up getting a 2007 Trek Pilot 1.2 and was able to negotiate it for $400 because I still need to get it tuned up. Plus, it came with some aerobars, which I hear are good for triathletes. I’m excited to ride it around!

2007 Trek Pilot 1.2

My new Trek Pilot 1.2

After I brought the bike home I packed up some watermelon, blueberries, Twizzlers, and Baked Lays and headed over to Wrightwood Park for my second movie in the park! I thought it was at the park that’s right by my place but it turns out that’s Jonquil Park and Wrightwood Park is a few blocks west at Ashland. Oh well. Gracelyn and Blair came so it was the same ‘ol Movie in the Park gang and Gracelyn brought her dog, Jess Bob. The movie was The Amazing Spiderman (2012) which I loved the first time I saw and could live without seeing again. But I do love Emma Stone, girl crush. Did you know they’re coming out with the Amazing Spiderman 2? Just saw that when I pulled the link for Emma Stone.

Movies in the Park Wrightwood Park

Movies in the Park Wrightwood Park

Anyway, it actually got pretty chilly last night to the point where we had to cover ourselves in a blanket. Boo! It’s August, I want to be sweating.

Tonight we’re having a Chicago Canes football kickoff party and tomorrow I’m heading to Lake Geneva (I’m planning on testing the water temp for the tri while I’m there) and Sunday I hope to take my first ride with the Mt. Prospect Bike Club, so stay tuned for a weekend wrap up on Monday!

Surviving the open water swim + the recreational swim

8 Aug

What a few couple of days it’s been!

I left off on Tuesday nervous about my open-water swim. Let’s start there (I know my reader(s) want to hear about the Backstreet Boys but hold your horses!)

So the open water clinic started at 6:00 but registration started at 5:30. I tried putting on my wetsuit (that I bought from a garage sale for $5) in the bathroom at work but that was a bad idea for so many reasons. First, it was embarrassing – especially the part where I couldn’t get it on because it’s old and I didn’t use any lubricant. Second, did I really think I was going to ride my bike in the wetsuit? That would have been horrible. Third, did I want to carry home a wet wetsuit when they had rentals available? No, but I also didn’t want to get stuck not being able to rent one because of the limited supply! Luckily all of my fears subsided when I arrived at the set up and easily rented a wet suit. They gave me a sleeveless, which was awesome, and one made for swimming, which my garage sale one was not. The only thing they didn’t do was spray me with olive oil (for real) to help slip it on. So  I was almost back to square one – embarrassingly pulling it on on the broken-glass-filled-grass of Oak Street beach.

Pre-clinic selfie

Pre-clinic selfie


Once I got the wet suit and red cap (for clinic-goers) on I listened up for where to go to learn all the first-time-triathlon goodies. I met up with two randos who were also doing this for the first time and when they split us up into comfort levels one of the girls and I decided to go with the “babies” meaning the most basic beginners. I consider myself a good swimmer but I wanted all the basics since I’m kinda flying by the seat of my pants, here. Turns out this was a good choice because the first thing the coaches taught us was the best way to put on our ugly little swim caps. No one has ever actually showed me before which makes for a lot of awkward moments in the gym locker room. We also got to hear a lot of really dumb and basic questions being answered which was not only helpful, but reassuring. At least I’m not the only one without a clue!

We ended up not swimming very much because of all of the techniques and questions being discussed, which was fine by me, and when it was 7:15 I zipped out of the water, struggled out of my wetsuit and rode my bike home. To be honest that swim to bike transition was the first “brick” I’ve ever practiced and it wasn’t a real practice because in between I had to pack my backpack, rinse and return the wetsuit.

That night my friends Blair and Walann came over to watch part II of the season finale of the Bachelorette. I know it’s crazy, but I love that show. I find it so relatable and not relatable at the same time, it’s just great. Plus, Blair brought over red wine and chocolate ice cream, so what’s not to love?

On Wednesday I took the day off and enjoyed one of the rare sunny, hot (82 degrees+) days at Magic Waters with my neighbors. We had a blast! We were at the park for seven hours and they flew by! Look at this huge drop slide we went on!

Magic Waters Double Dare Drop

Magic Waters Double Dare Drop


Once I got home I went to see a bike I’ve been emailing back and forth about from Craigslist. I’m so torn because it might just be a perfect fit but I don’t know since I’m so inexperienced with road bikes. Boo! I’m hoping to do some bike research between now and Saturday and perhaps go buy it Saturday morning before the Pleasant Prarie adventure. Don’t worry, though, I won’t be using it for the race!